TRIALS: The Case of Scientist X

Almost as soon as they began trailing Scientist X around Berkeley, Calif, back in 1943, atomic security agents began to have grave doubts about his reliability. Though he toiled faithfully enough at his work at the University of California's radiation laboratories, the agents reported that he was cozying up after hours to Steve Nelson, a known Communist leader. But it was not until 1949 that the House Un-American Activities Committee identified Scientist X as a black-haired young physicist named Dr. Joseph W. Weinberg, and flatly accused him of passing wartime atomic secrets to Nelson.

Dr. Weinberg, then teaching at the...

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